A Simple Guide to Forgiveness
“To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it.” -Confucius
Forgiving others does more for us than it does for the person who has wronged us. Until we forgive them we are bound to them. We give them power over our lives, we allow them to influence who we are and the choices we make.
Forgiving isn’t easy. When we choose to forgive we open ourselves to grief. We’re letting go of the hope, however small, that things could have been different. When we acknowledge this we move from anger to sadness. Sometimes it feels safer to stay angry. But unresolved anger is destructive. When we stay angry we’re like a child picking at a scab. We don’t allow the wound to heal.
Healing begins when we move from anger into sadness and grief. Grief allows us to process the impact of our loss or pain. Recognizing that what’s done is done frees us to move on. We can allow the wound to heal if we choose. While we may be changed by our experience, we choose how we are changed.
The following questions can help you work toward forgiveness.
- Think about your experience. How did you feel when you were wronged? How do you feel now when you think of it? How has it affected your life? Your relationships?
- How is your unwillingness to forgive affecting your life today? Your relationships?
- Take back your power. Knowing there is no way to change the past, what steps can you take today toward the life you want for yourself in spite of the wrongs you have suffered?
- What would it mean to you to forgive the person who wronged you? How would your life be different if you let go of the hurt and the anger?
In my own life the most difficult part of forgiving has been accepting things as they are and letting go of the desire for them to be different. What has been the biggest challenge for you?